Growth in the efficiency sector / Electric trucks / Concerns over coal
DENEFF / PwC
“10 percent turnover growth in the efficiency sector”
Companies in the business of supplying energy efficiency solutions grow much faster than the rest of the economy, a study by the German Industry Initiative for Energy Efficiency (DENEFF) and consultancy PwC finds. Companies in the sector increased their sales by ten percent last year, according to the study which is based on a survey among 190 efficiency companies. The number of employees in the sector also rose by ten percent to around 535,000. The companies said politics, especially the National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency (NAPE), had become the most important driver for their business, well ahead of energy prices, the main incentive in earlier surveys. Especially energy audits required at large companies have given the efficiency sector a big push, because they have forced companies to address the issue of efficiency.
But PwC and DENEFF also warned the efficiency sector was concerned about political uncertainty. If efficiency was to become a central pillar of the Energiewende, more needs to be done at the political level, they said. "Lower energy prices and a chronic shortage of highly qualified personnell also put a break on the development of the sector," said DENEFF's Martin Bornholdt at a press conference. He said the government was preparing a Green Book on efficiency, but also said major initiatives were unlikely before the parliamentary election in 2017.
Get the study in German here.
"Daimler to go into production with electric trucks"
Daimler has launched a test fleet of electric trucks in Stuttgart. Delivery company Hermes will use the four Fuso Canter E-Cell vehicles for the next year. Their batteries will need recharging several times a day, and the vehicles are still very expensive, Handelsblatt reports. But Daimler hopes advances in technology will bring down the cost of batteries in the coming years.
See the Handelsblatt report in German here.
See a report by Automotive World in English here.
See a CLEW dossier on the energy transition in the transport sector here.
“Electrical through open country”
Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of car manufacturer Daimler, has shown respect for e-car pioneer company Tesla but says “technology wise, Tesla has nothing that we couldn’t have too”. Daimler is preparing its own offensive in the e-car market, writes Markus Fasse in the Handelsblatt. The company will soon present plans for a large electric vehicle, very likely a SUV with a range of 400-500 kilometres that will be produced on a large scale, Fasse says. The batteries are to come from a facilitiy in Saxony – Daimler wants to invest half a billion euros in battery production, the article says.
"Half of German lignite has to remain underground"
For Germany to attain its climate targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050, about half of the lignite already approved for mining would have to remain underground, according to a new paper by think tank Agora Energiewende*. The minig developments already approved by the governments in North-Rhine Westphalia and Lusatia are contradicting national and international climate targets, the think tank says. To prepare all stakeholders for a gradual lignite phase out by 2040, the authors propose a national "coal consensus".
But members of the ruling parties in the federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia refused the idea of a medium-term phase-out of the state’s lignite mining, at a discussion about a "coal consensus" organised by Stiftung Mercator on Monday. “We are an industrial state and want to remain one,” said Michael Hübner, deputy leader of the social democrat parliamentary group. The state government of North-Rhine Westphalia decided last year that the volume of coal mined should be reduced, but did not mention any timing for a lignite mining exit.
Download the paper in German here.
“Paying a high price for coal”
Investors are starting to avoid coal mines “like the devil the holy water”, writes Daniel Eckert in Die Welt. This puts pressure on financial markets as shares in mining companies fall to nothing, he says. In an internal paper seen by Die Welt, the finance ministers of Sweden, France and Germany say capital allocation that doesn’t take the risks of climate change into account, results in risk building up in the financial system. If investors don't account for this, the transition to a low-emission economy could trigger “market shocks”, the ministers say. The EU finance ministers will come together for an informal meeting on 22 April – the day the Paris climate treaty is to be signed – and will likely discuss the carbon bubble and coal, Eckert writes.
Association of Energy Market Innovators (BNE)
“Energy sector: Digitalisation law needs adjustments”
The government should make adjustments to its proposed law on the digitalisation of the energy transition, the Association of Energy Market Innovators (BNE) says. The government wants to compel small and medium sized companies that consume more than 10,000 kilowatt-hours of power to install smart meters. This could lead to such companies having to pay higher grid fees, BNE warns. But the legislator could still adjust the rules to prevent putting an extra burden on such consumers, BNE says.
Read the press release in German here.
Ministry for Transport
“Minister presents hydrogen strategy”
Transport minister Alexander Dobrindt has presented a hydrogen strategy for Germany. Speaking in Berlin the minister said fuel cells were a key technology in the “biggest mobility revolution since the invention of the automobile”. The strategy includes a 161 million euro investment in research by the ministry, with the aim of making fuel cells competitive. By 2023, some 400 hydrogen fuel stations are planned in Germany, which will be funded with 350 million euros. Germany will cooperate with China in hydrogen innovation, the ministry announced.
Read the press release in German here.
Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy
"New research initiative strengthens energy systems in buildings and cities"
The Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) and the Ministry for Education and Research (BMPF) have launched a new initiative to integrate energy efficiency measures and solar power production into buildings and urban environments. The German government is to plough 150 million euros into the research program, funding projects for up to five years. "The research initiative provides an important basis to network players in the energy transition in the building sector," said state secretary for energy Rainer Baake in a press release.
See the press release in German here.
German Energy Agency
"First 50 energy efficiency networks launched"
The first 50 of 500 energy efficiency networks planned under the government’s National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency have been launched. The networks involve consortia of companies that work together towards energy efficiency goals, sharing expertise. Most of the new networks are in Bavaria, Hesse, Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony, the German Energy Agency (Dena) says in a press release. "Companies in energy efficiency networks not only protect the climate but also make themselves fit for international competition," said Holger Lösch of the Federation of German Industries, which is working with the government on the initiative.
See the press release in German here.
* Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.